Dear Young Parent:
You are so fortunate to be raising your child in this wonderfully enlightened age of ADHD awareness and behavior assistance!
I am now age 70 and only found out two years ago through neuropsychiatric testing that in fact I’ve had ADHD all my life! Beginning in first grade, I’ve had a terrible experience with quizzes, tests & exams. My parents always assumed that I had a very lazy mind and just didn’t try hard enough to get above a C average in most of my classes, so after I almost flunked 8th grade, my very intelligent lawyer father placed me in a private boys prep school. I was initially tested by the school’s headmaster, where I was forced to repeat the 8th grade. From then until I graduated from high school, in the same boys school, I was forced to study up to four hours per day after school until I understood all the class material, reading & re-reading the text books with my father testing me each night. I was so mentally exhausted by the time I went to bed, it was hard to fall asleep some nights. I’d rather forget about all those agonizing years. I finally graduated with a C+ average and was admitted to Brigham Young University in Provo, UT, where I finally was free from my father’s heavy authoritarian hand (he died an alcoholic six months before I finished high school). The best years of my single life were at that incredible university.
All through my working life I was always so distracted by everything going on around me that I found it incredibly difficult to focus on the task at hand. My dear wife had a very hard time understanding my affliction as well and again thought I was just being lazy and uncaring. After I was diagnosed, she still thought I was only “pretending”. She had already divorced me after almost 40 years of marriage, partly due to my ADHD problems.
Since I moved away from her and began a new life here in beautiful Prescott, AZ almost two years ago, I have found great peace of mind in volunteering in my church and with three awesome non-profit organizations.
My best advise to you, as a parent, is to NEVER ever give up on your child. Always treat her with great love and respect. Remember, ADHD is a condition of the mind that we really know so little about. Show her that you truly love her and want to understand what’s going on inside your child’s mind and heart. I can tell you from sad experience that the usual study, retain & test patterns DO NOT WORK for someone that has this condition. There are other ways to convey and retain knowledge that the ADHD experts can assist you and your child with. In addition, believe it or not, in many ways ADHD can be a great gift for your child. There are certain career fields where ADHD children excel far above others.
Finally, I would highly recommend that you follow along with the wonderful advise and counsel that you and your child can receive from the ADDitude newsletters and become an active networking participant. And remember that your child may turn out to be one of the 90% of adults who no longer suffer from the effects of ADHD after age 18.
I wish you and your precious “special” child all the best.